I used to have a lot more money than I do now. (I bought my previous husband a Porsche as a gift in the mid 90's ! OK - it wasn't brand new - but it was pretty awesome.) Anyway, I'm living on a very limited budget now. And I've never been happier. I've learned to save money in everything. Here are just a few of my ideas that have become part of my lifestyle:
TAKE CARE OF YOUR BODY YOURSELF
There was a time when I used to go to the beauty parlor and get my hair cut, dyed, and styled. Now I just let my hair grow and my sweetheart trims off the frizzy ends. He loves long hair and would be upset if I got it cut off anyway. I turned gray at 40 - that's 15 years ago. I just buy the least expensive hair dye ($3 at Dollar General) and dye it myself at home every month. I use lots of Suave conditioner afterwards and it turns out soft and shiny. No more getting my nails done either. Guys couldn't care less about your nails anyway. (I've done a personal survey) My nails are "au naturelle". I keep them trimmed. And they're strong and healthy - like a French manicure without the polish. I wash my face twice a day with Dollar General "beauty bar". It's like DOVE but actually a better shape to work with and less expensive. I never put anything else on my face (except eye makeup and lipstick). My skin is very healthy. Partly that is because it is so humid in Florida and I have very oily skin (good genes). Bottom line is - you don't need to spend a fortune getting your hair done and your nails done and getting facial's and pedicures. You can save a lot of money doing it yourself.
SHOP FOR CLOTHES AT THRIFT STORES
I bought a pair of jean shorts at WalMart for $11 and my "sweetie" didn't really care for them (in a nice way). I returned them and went to the Thrift Store. I found five pairs of shorts for $1.50 each. The only clothes I buy new are bras and panties. Everything else I own has been given to me or from the Thrift Store. And I'm constantly cleaning out my closet and drawers and giving stuff away to my daughter-in-law. You can save a lot of money on clothes shopping the Second Hand Stores.
ENJOY STAYING HOME
For years my sweetheart and I have been planning a "Date Night" every Friday - AT HOME. We can't afford to go out to dinner or a movie or a bar or go on vacation. But we have a wonderful evening at home together. I plan a nice dinner (I love to cook anyway), we light candles, maybe watch a movie, play music and dance in the living room, and get romantic with bubble baths or back rubs. It doesn't really cost anything except for a bottle of wine for $10. Our friends know not to interrupt us on "Date Night". We look forward to our special night every week. You don't have to spend a fortune to have a great time.
SELL YOUR CAR
Five years ago when my car broke down and we couldn't afford to have it repaired, we decided to live without a car. I have a perfectly good driver's license and keep it renewed in the hopes that someday I'll be able to get a car again, but for now, I walk, ride a bike, take the bus, take a taxi cab occasionally, or beg for a ride from a friend or relative. I'm saving a fortune. Luckily, I'm not going to work every day and everywhere I need to go is conveniently located close to our apartment. I know this wouldn't work for most people who need to get to work. But if you don't absolutely NEED your car, consider living without it. The bonus: I'm getting lots more exercise.
Check out the "Secrets of Success" for Saving Money. There are lots of other ways you can save money. Don't get me started on the "grocery store". I'm a smart food shopper too. I'm sure you have lots of ideas too. The main thing I think is that you can change your lifestyle to live within your means.
I'm cheap - and proud of it.